Friday 31 March 2017 by James Manning

Paella, sangria and Cervantes: it’s the best of Spanish London

Thirty-seven years ago I spent a summer harvesting melons in Murcia just to make some money to go and see theatre in London. I hitchhiked my way there, arriving at the Old Vic to see Derek Jacobi’s ‘Hamlet’ and dreaming of opening my own theatre nearby. Back then there were barely any Spanish restaurants here and Notting Hill was the closest thing to a Spanish area, with some shops, bars, and later the Spanish school Cañada Blanch.

Nowadays this city is full of young Spaniards dreaming of finding their future in an open, cosmopolitan capital: a city in which there are Spanish lawyers, architects and doctors, but also nannies, nurses and waiters learning English and absorbing the culture. There isn’t a typically Spanish area, like Stockwell is for our Portuguese neighbours, but many Spaniards live in Southwark. And nearby is my theatre: now open to everyone, just like this amazing city.

Jorge de Juan